China hospital staff demand better security after deadly brawl

China hospital staff demand better security after deadly brawl

BEIJING - Hospital staff have demonstrated in China to demand better protection after a doctor and a patient were killed in a fight, media reported on Monday, the latest incident to highlight problems in a system often overwhelmed with patients.

The deaths came on Saturday when a drunk man seeking treatment for an injury started a fight with a doctor and they both then plummeted down an elevator shaft, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The incident in the province of Henan, is the latest in a spate of violence in health facilities that has led to an increase in security at hospitals.

State media did not provide details of the demonstration in Henan on Saturday but Xinhua said medical staff had become suspicious of patients because of a large number of disputes.

In an earlier incident, six nurses and an administrator were stabbed to death by a man with a history of mental illness at a sanatorium dormitory in November.

While the government has ramped up health spending, hospitals are frequently overwhelmed with patients. Doctors are also badly paid, leading to corruption and a suspicion that staff are more interested in making money by prescribing unnecessary drugs and treatment than tending the sick.

Many people are unable to afford health care despite government efforts to provide a basic safety net, which has also increased frustration.

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